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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 12-09-2010, 11:02 AM
johngalt66 johngalt66 is offline
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2011 X3 vs. GLK 350 vs. RX 350

I am a new poster but have viewed this forum many times over the years (often considering whether ED was a good option for me). I am buying a new vehicle for my senior citizen parents. I recognize this a BMW forum and so you guys are enthusiasts, but I was hoping to get some good feedback from knowledgeable folks. I sat in the 2011 X3 today and very much liked what I saw.

My parents grew up with luxury being the large domestic sedan feel (Cadillac, Lincoln). They travel between Sarasota and Atlanta (500 miles) about 6 times per year, and they have for the last decade owned various Odyssey vans for the trip. They like the ride for these trips, but, once there, they prefer to drive their CR-V because of its size. Now, they have decided they would be better off with a more luxurious but smaller vehicle that would work well for the long hauls as well as around town.

The Lexus is an obvious choice for them because of its softer ride. The downside is that the instumentation is a little confusing to my dad, and, it is a little "too big" for my mom driving around town.

The Mercedes is a nice possibility, but it is a little "too small" for the longer trips and occassional backseat occupants. Plus, there is no free maintenance, and paying Mercedes maintance bills will be hard for my dad to swallow. He grew up maintaining his own vehicles and has not quite come to terms with other people doing it (especially at what is charged for it today).

So, the BMW seems to be in the sweet spot. First, the basic function instruments (i.e., climate control and stereo) are extremely straight forward, especially with there now being knobs for fan speed and temperature. The more "complicated" functions are controlled by the idrive, but even they have been simplified by the labelled selections nestled around it. It still might be a bit much for my dad (who can make calls on the iphone 4 I got him but really not much more), but my mom would adapt to the idrive quite well.

What it really going to come down to is the ride and road noise. I know this sounds insane as we are talking about a BMW, but how "isolated" from the outside do you think the occupants will be? Will the cabin by quiet, or will road noise (especially with the run flats) be pronounced? They drove the old X3 about 3 or 4 years ago, and it was much too jarring for them. The reviews make it sound much quieter, and I know without having driven one I'm asked you guys to read tea leaves, but I thought given your experience of reading reviews and then knowing who is accurate, etc., that maybe you could at least make an educated guess.

Next, can the navigation be operated while on the move? Or, do you need to put it in park even if you are using voice commands? How user friendly is the latest system?

Finally, how about iphone 4 compatibility? Is it really easy to connect and use for calls, etc.? Do you use bluetooth or a wired connection?

Thank you very much for any input!
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2010, 01:24 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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I still think the Lexus is the best choice given your parents' preferences.

Secondly, I will suggest the excellent BMW 328i wagon. It is an excellent highway cruiser, rides well, sips fuel, and works around town as well. If you don't want iDrive, simply skip the navigation option and the radio controls become the conventional type. Plus, there will be few, if any reliability problems because it's been out since late 2005.

But to answer your question on the X3: The new one will be more comparable to other modern BMWs; they dialed up the luxury and scaled back the sport on this new X3 so it'll match up with American market preferences. It'll be a pleasant drive and fairly quiet. The ride will the firmer than the Lexus (you will feel road imperfections but it won't be uncomfortable), and so will the seats.

BMW does not lock out any functions while the vehicle is moving. Full control of the nav and voice controls is possible while driving.

BMW's Bluetooth tends to work fine. Just pair it once and it'll reconnect everytime. The Phonebook and corresponding voice dials should also work once it downloads the info from the mobile device. There is also a Smartphone Integration which further integrates with devices like the iPhone. There is more information on the BMW NA website. http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/conte...y/default.aspx

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 12-09-2010 at 01:25 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2010, 06:30 PM
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MarcA78 MarcA78 is offline
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In my opinion, the Lexus and Merc are not overpriced, soft and gauche. The X3 is a great car, but it will still lean more toward the sporty than a senior citizen may like. Why not go with a Volvo XC90? Or even the Mazda CX-9. My wife has the new CX-9 and it's actually pretty awesome. Especially for the price.
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  #4  
Old 12-09-2010, 06:30 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Originally Posted by johngalt66 View Post
johngalt
Rearden here :-)

if its for parents just choose lexus. Soft ride & reliability combine for peace of mind. I know you said your dad is a diy type, but I won't push him with a new model in new factory from a make that is known to require regular maintenace.
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2010, 06:32 PM
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Or maybe the new Jeep Grand Cherokee?
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2010, 07:03 PM
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If i was a senior citizen I would take the lexus because it does have the softest ride and probably the most comfortable seats.
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2010, 08:03 PM
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Funny, I don't see the RX as a smallish car. It is more X5 in size. It is super popular and very cushy with everything done automatically.

What about the Caddy SRX or the Acura RDX as variations of what they have had before. There are also the smallish BMW and Volvo station wagons. The regular Volvo station wagons have the best seats even though they drive like boats.

They said the suspension on the X3 was softened up in 2007. Did they go even softer in 2011 or is that just a myth.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:03 PM
adgrant adgrant is offline
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Or maybe the new Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Why.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2010, 10:45 AM
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Seriously, go for the Volvo XC90.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2010, 02:07 PM
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Add q5, Tiguan and new Touareg to the list.
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2010, 07:18 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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The RX is the best choice followed by the XC70 (as high a seating position as the X3, and great seats, my daughter has one), the MDX Touring, MB ML350/550, and Audi Q5 or 7 depending on how much they want to haul back and forth. BMW would not be on my list for parents who want comfort. The "free" maintentance is not all that great (I got two oil changes a brake pad slap (no rotors), and one brake fluid change in 50K miles) and many marques are doing it also, like Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and Caddie. This might be a dealer's program but I see it offered in the ads. They will be happier in either the RX or the ML IMHO.

Last edited by UncleJ; 12-11-2010 at 07:22 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2010, 08:50 PM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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GLK is crappy. You can get the ML for nearly same $.
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  #13  
Old 12-12-2010, 12:08 AM
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Can't see a BMW in a "mature" indivduals line up. My Mom is hitting 70 next year and she has had her share of Mercedes and even a Rolls Royce Corniche.

The "Kids" in our family are chipping in to buy her a Lexus next year for ride comfort and high ratings with low problems.

She said that was her favorite so far of the cars we have taken her out to drive.

She's no slouch btw as she once got a ticket for 137 miles an hour after living in Europe and driving the Autobahn a large portion of her life.
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Last edited by Evlengr; 12-12-2010 at 12:10 AM.
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  #14  
Old 12-12-2010, 07:05 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Around here the MLKs are hot and the ML's not. You CAN get an ML for virtually the same price as the MLK as the dealers are offering lots of incentives. You can even get a deal on the 6.3 AMG!
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  #15  
Old 12-12-2010, 10:02 AM
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Isn't the ML in the X5 class size? Not a great alternative if the original poster wanted something compact; trust me the X5 is huge. He even thought the Lexus RX was bordering on "too big". Plus, it's cheaper because MB doesn't need to import it, and the turn signals are the wrong colour.

A benefit of the GLK is that it can be ordered in rear-wheel drive, nice for a southern climate, good for fuel consumption and driving fun. If BMW imported it, I would consider an X1 sDrive20d.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:07 PM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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The old X5, RX, and ML are pretty much in the same class sizewise. The new X5 is more in the class of the GL now IMHO. Actually the "new" X3 is pretty close to the current ML, T-egg and Cayenne in size now.

Last edited by UncleJ; 12-12-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:14 PM
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get them a smaller wagon.... they don't need a big chunky AWD to drive around
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:30 AM
johngalt66 johngalt66 is offline
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Thank you all very much for your help!!

The reason wagons are out is that my parents really prefer the high seating position of a SUV. I realize the Volvo XC70 rides high, but it does below average in the Consumer Reports reliability rating (half a black circle).

Also, one of the reasons I limited the search to the 3 vehicles is that the RX and GLK have performed phenomenally in the Consumer Reports predicted reliability evaluations (soild red circles--normal for a Lexus but unprecedented for a Mercedes), and I was hopeful that the X3 might be reliable because of BMW's competitive need to get it right out of the gate. I realize that may be wishful thinking.

So far I have driven the RX and GLK and sat in the X3 (there is one being passed around at the Atlanta dealerships for people to view (but not drive)). I have to say I like the look, size, and feel of the BMW most. The ergonomics just seem the best. I can see my dad driving it and not being as distracted/confused by the controls as the RX. My mom (70 in May) still is very young in attitude and would prefer the sportiness of the X3 over the soft comfort of the RX.

To sum up, I'm pretty sure the X3 would win IF I could be confident in its reliability (and if after a test drive the ride seemed compliant enough). But alas, unless you good folks can pursuade me otherwise, it just seems to be too high of a risk. My parents don't need a lot of my dad saying "did you hear that noise" and my mom saying "I guess I'll have to take it back in." They don't want to wait the year it would take for reliability results to start filtering in. It really is a pity because there are a lot of things about it that are just perfect (including the size right between the little too small GLK and the little too big RX).

Of well, I guess there is a reason they sell 100k RXs a year. It is a great vehicle, and will work fine for my parents, but it just seems to be missing a bit of a pulse. Thanks again!
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:03 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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John, you have to give your parents a little credit here. They have been around a long time and have a pretty good idea of what they need and want in a car. You are doing them a service by checking out the various choices and suggesting a good car. In the end however it is your mom and dad who will be making the final choice (even if you think you are -- thats just how parents are). The new X3 will have teething problems. That is a given. A new car, new factory line, new (unfamiliar) workers screwing it together all are a receipe for potential problems at first. It will only be after the first few months of production are out in the real world getting "beta tested" by the consumers that the glitches will surface (i.e. '07 automatic transmission). By the end of '11 the car will be pretty well sorted out and getting one will be a pretty good bet, if you really have to have an X3. In the meantime your parents will be enjoying their very nice, luxo, comfortable RX. You might even enjoy driving it. Good luck and you are doing the right thing by helping your parents.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:53 AM
BruceOmega BruceOmega is offline
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johngalt66,

My $0.02 worth is I would not hesitate to purchase the new X3 just because its a new model. I bought one new model BMW shortly after it first went into production, a 2006 330Xi, and it was as trouble free and reliable as two other new BMWs we've purchased that were several years into their model run. I realize that car was manufactured in Germany, not South Carolina, but I personally would not consider that an isssue.

However, I would not buy the new X3 without first taking a good test drive. The one mistake I made when I bought my new 3 series was not taking a test drive, and I came to regret the implementation of RFTs on that car. What I've read so far is BMW has done a very good job with the suspension and RFTs on the new X3, just like on the new 5 series, in terms of ride comfort.

We saw and sat in a new X3 at a local dealer last weekend. The visual impression it made on me was of a more sophisticated vehicle than my wife's 2006 X3, but not necessarily a larger one even though I know its dimensions are a few inches bigger.

The dealer said they would not have a new X3 available for us to test drive until February.

It's interesting you have a Lexus and a BMW in the comparison set. Do you think your parents would appreciate the difference in driving feel?

Bruce
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:44 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Bruce, I think they would appreciate the riding feel between the X3 and RX going over rough roads however!
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:46 PM
BruceOmega BruceOmega is offline
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Bruce, I think they would appreciate the riding feel between the X3 and RX going over rough roads however!
I would not disagree for the current X3!

My wife and I are looking forward to a test drive of the new model with the turbo engine. Most of the time, our current '06 X3 is not too stiff, and its always fun to drive, but we would appreciate more compliance in the suspension.

Bruce
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:05 PM
johngalt66 johngalt66 is offline
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OP here--thanks to everybody. So, we were all set to buy the RX 350, and I happened to drive by the local BMW dealership and there was a 2011 X3. It looked GREAT, and I called the local dealer in Florida where my parents live and they did have a demo in that my mom was able to drive today. She really liked it and is now leaning toward the X3. One option that I wish it had was a dynamic cruise control system that would brake if the car in front stopped short. Anyway, I was hoping you guys could give some input on taking delivery at the Greer plant. Does this in any way impact the negotiated price with the dealership? I know from my lurking years that ED could actually save a great deal of money because the vehicle did not come out of the dealer's allotment (any input on this for my own edification on a future 3 series purchase would also be appreciated). But, back to the point, for my parents should Greer delivery have any impact on the price? THANKS!!!
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:32 PM
johngalt66 johngalt66 is offline
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I found my way over to the applicable threads that discuss European and Greer delivery--I apologize for posting here on a topic that had a more appropriate thread elsewhere. I was just excited that my mother preferred the X3.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:17 PM
Stephen5242 Stephen5242 is offline
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Why.
Why not?

Have you seen the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
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